I just finished a very special and ridiculously entertaining book: In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving.While I love all books, my favorite type of book to read is non-fiction. Whether it’s historical, motivational, inspirational, self growth, how to, biographical, or autobiographical, if there’s a non-fiction book on the premises, I’m not too far behind it.
Character is something that you cannot buy, and it’s something that cannot be taken from you. You can only lose it. It’s the most important thing you own. – Sean Tuohy
One of the things that makes In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving so extraordinary is the fact that it could very well be listed under any of the categories I just described. How cool is that?
If you loved The Blind Side even half as much as I did (I laughed, I cried, I clapped), there’s a part of you that wants to know more about this warm and wonderful family. They’ll tell you right up front that they aren’t perfect – but many things about them are so darn near, they know what perfect had for breakfast.
Even after the movie, I wanted to know more about Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy as well as their children, Collins, Michael, and S.J. I bought the book, The Blind Side (I laughed, I cried, I clapped). After reading the book… you guessed it, I wanted to know more.
There are stalking laws, though, so I cooled my heels. Finally, my patience and adherence to the law has paid off. This outstanding book fills in the missing pieces and provides you with family histories that are more fascinating than even I had dared to hope. I guess it makes sense that outrageously colorful people would have more of their kind up their family tree.
And what stories they have to tell!
We fight. We make up. And we get over it. That’s what families do. – In a Heartbeat, Page 27
The book is brilliantly divided into chapters which are “hosted” by different individuals (Tim McGraw, Sean Tuohy, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Collins Tuohy, S.J. , Sandra Bullock, and Michael Oher). Being able to hear the different voices makes the book even more special. It really was a stroke of absolute brilliance. When Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy describe their childhood and college life, you feel as though they’re in the room with you. Each has a conversational writing style that makes everything in the world right.
From Publishers Weekly
Those familiar with the film The Blind Side, or Michael Lewis’s best-selling book, will likely already know the inspiring story of how the Tuohys took future-NFL star Michael Oher into their home and adopted him. For anyone wondering what more there might be to say about it, the answer is: plenty. In a Heartbeat finds the Tuohys attempting to determine what it was that made them reach out to the homeless African-American boy they saw walking down the street in a t-shirt and shorts on a winter’s day. Leigh Anne and Sean had known tough times themselves and had put themselves on the lookout for troubled kids in need of help. As a white, southern, church-going family, they defy red-state/blue-state stereotypes (for instance, by sending their teen-age daughter to a seminar fostering racial and social justice); though Leigh Anne has been described as a “gun-toting Republican Christian,” and admits to carrying weapons, she also claims to cross “party lines all the time.” With Jenkins’s help they write with humor about their quirks and the joy that Michael brought to their family, finally arriving at the belief that “we can all change people’s lives by investing time in individuals.”
I’ll be completely up front with you (as always). I should have had this book review up last month. February was ridiculous for me, though, and – literally – this is the absolute soonest I can write this review. Don’t get me wrong, I could have thrown up a quickie – you know, here’s the picture of the book, here’s what the back cover says, here’s the link, you’ll like it. Wham, bam, go order it mam (or gentleman.) This book deserves much more than that, so here is the review – a couple of weeks later than I would have liked to have written it.
As we reflected on our own ways of giving, we came to see that we often approached charity too formally. Giving shouldn’t always be a prescribed ritual or ceremony; it doesn’t need to be accompanied by properly stamped paperwork. If we worried less about the procedures and methods of giving and concentrated more on a giving state of mind, we might have more to offer than we knew. – Page 22, In a Heartbeat
It’s funny, I’m not sure I’ve ever told you or not, but it’s WAY, WAY, WAY easier to write a book review for a book you either….
- Vaguely liked
- Didn’t totally hate
- Hated so badly you wouldn’t even take it to Goodwill (had a few)
If this book had answered to one of these descriptions, the review would have been up long ago. The book would have been boxed up and given away or spat on and thrown away.
But a book that you know to be a very special book – one that you wish as many people as possible would read? That’s one tough assignment. I have so many thoughts running around in my overly-caffeinated mind. Each thought is clamoring for attention like a roomful of kindergarten kids. They’re bumping off of one another, each one trying to be louder than the next. Normally, it’s a show I enjoy, but I really want to do right by this book.
Ever since, I’ve known how little it really takes to give someone a big leg up. – In a Heartbeat, Page 40
A sample of the random thoughts:
- This book “reads” as entertainingly as any novel I’ve ever read.
- The authors are so likable and colorful, you’d read anything they wrote – even if it were a grocery list.
- This inspiring book makes where you ARE an uncomfortable place to be. It makes you want to step outside of yourself and.. I dunno… see what kind of magic you can bring into someone else’s life.
- This is the sort of book you carry from room to room with you, sneaking “visits” with the authors whenever you have a free moment.
- It’s the sort of book that constantly has you reaching for pen and paper to write down a great quote.
- In a Heartbeat will be the book you recommend to friends and family for years to come.
- If someone doesn’t make another movie about this special, lovable family, I’ll be forever disappointed.
- I LOVE that Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw each have a chapter in this book!
Those are just some of the thoughts running around my head. I guess now would be a good time to pause and thank God and WordPress for Bullet Points.
In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving is without a doubt the next book you should read. I sincerely hope that you’ll grab a copy right away and devour it cover to cover. I thought it’d be fitting to end with a favorite passage from the book. It’s written by Sean Tuohy. It’s from a chapter in which he tells about his fascinating childhood, college basketball career, and the head-on collision with fate… also known as the night he met Leigh Anne.
One of the reasons I find this section of the story especially fascinating is that their relationship reminds me a great deal of the one I share with my own collision, aka my husband Michael. In our world, however, he’s more like Leigh Anne, while I’m the one sometimes just trying to hold on!
When friends ask me how I’ve managed to forge such a happy marriage for twenty-eight years, I joke that it’s because I don’t have a huge need to be in charge. But the real answer is more difficult to articulate. How do you explain harmony? For whatever reason, we have it, even though we’re very different. I’m a slow talker and more roundabout; she’s quick-firing, easy to rile, and very assertive. My way of doing things takes three weeks; hers takes three minutes. We’re both achievers – we just go about it differently. So who is right? I don’t think either of us cares, which is probably one reason we don’t have many arguments. What matters most is that we complement each other. And, on the important things, we understand each other perfectly.
Over the years, our differences have tended to be sources of interest, not conflict. – Sean Tuohy, In a Heartbeat, pages 56-57
Read more about In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by clicking the link.